5 Best Women’s Running Headphones + Buying Guide to Help You Choose

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No matter what kind of exercise you do, you can use music to improve your experience. Depending on the tunes you choose, you might experience a rush of excitement that will help you power through the last minutes of your workout or you might choose favorite songs that help you pass the time. For your music to really sound clear you’ll need the best women’s running headphones. 

If you’re a runner, you know that headphones can be problematic due to the intense movements that this exercise requires. Finding headphones that stay in place and deliver on sound quality can be frustrating. We’re runners ourselves, so we know all about the hassle of finding women’s running headphones that fit just right.

To make it easier for you to find the best earbuds for running, we’ve carefully reviewed and tested dozens of models from some of the biggest names in the audio industry. Our top recommendation are Bose SoundSport headphones — they offer an outstanding fit, even for long runs, all while providing wonderful sound quality. Read more about why we suggest these and other great wireless sport headphones below.

Women’s wireless headphones with an emphasis on sound quality

Bose SoundSport, Wireless Earbuds, (Sweatproof Bluetooth Headphones for Running and Sports)

Bose SoundSport, Wireless Earbuds, (Sweatproof Bluetooth Headphones for Running and Sports)Bose SoundSport, Wireless Earbuds, (Sweatproof Bluetooth Headphones for Running and Sports)

Bose’s SoundSport running headphones are an ideal pick for the woman who wants to hear the highs and lows of her favorite music — and not her feet pounding on the payment.

The earbud’s feature the brand’s legendary active EQ technology for more balanced sound, no matter what genre of music you’re enjoying or at what volume.

The wireless sport headphones connect to your devices via Bluetooth or NFC, with voice prompts guiding you through the process. Once you’ve connected, the voice prompts can provide info about battery levels, volume settings, and more.

One important aspect that sets apart running headphones from other varieties is how well they fit and how well they stay in place. Bose SoundSport excel here thanks to StayHear+ Sport ear tips. You’ll receive two different sizes of the specially designed tips to ensure your comfort when you’re working out.

We tested these headphones while jogging around the neighborhood and running on the treadmill, and they never shifted, ached, or were in any way uncomfortable.

These earbuds claim to be sweat and weather resistant, but note that this doesn’t mean that they’re waterproof. They were fine for us during a run while it was drizzling, but many reviews note that they’re prone to failing when exposed to excessive moisture.

If you’re like us, you probably forget to charge your devices regularly. That’s not an issue with these headphones because 15 minutes of charging will get you an hour’s worth of listening. When you charge for the full 2 hours, you’ll enjoy 6 hours of battery life.

Another useful feature is its Tile capability. Simply download the Tile app and pair your headphones with it, and you’ll always have a way to track your SoundSports should you misplace them.

One major fault with these earbuds is that they lack noise cancellation for phone calls. This means that if you need to have a quick chat, your caller will hear all of the surrounding noise, including road traffic or kids at play.

What I Liked

  • Incredible sound quality across all music genres
  • Specially designed ear tips fit comfortably and don’t fall out during heavy exercise
  • Tile feature lets you locate your lost headphones through a simple app

What I Didn’t Like

  • Moisture resistance isn’t great, so not ideal for heavy sweaters or poor weather
  • No noise cancellation means callers hear tons of background noise

Wireless sport headphones let you go longer between charges

powerbeats high-performance wireless earbuds

powerbeats high-performance wireless earbudspowerbeats high-performance wireless earbuds

With an incredible 15 hours of listening time on a single charge, Beats Powerbeats are definitely the best earbuds for women who are constantly on the go.

And if you do happen to find your headphones dead just as you’re preparing for a run, plug them in. Charging for just 5 minutes will net you an hour of listening time, just enough for a good run.

The Beats brand is synonymous with quality, and that’s no exception with these earbuds. While you may not enjoy studio-quality sound, you won’t be disappointed with the output. We listened to a mix of rock, pop, and hip hop, and we found the sound balance to be great.

With your purchase, you’ll receive four sets of ear tips to find the right fit. These tips, in conjunction with adjustable ear hooks, are what keep the headphones in place as you move. We liked how easy it was to customize our fit with the tips, but we weren’t a fan of the ear hooks. If you have sensitive ears, you might find them annoying too.

These earbuds are IPX4 rated, which means they resist moisture from all angles. Our tests confirmed a sealed housing that did an awesome job of keeping water out. If you sweat a lot while running, these headphones will definitely keep up.

When it comes to connecting to music, you have several options. iOS users can connect to Apple devices with just a press of a button. If you use Android, you’ll need to download an app and connect that way. For all other devices, you’ll connect via Bluetooth.

We tested these earbuds with an iPhone, a Samsung Galaxy, and an ancient MP3 player we dug out of the office drawer. We had no issues connecting, and we didn’t experience any drop offs while running with the devices in our pockets.

What I Liked

  • Enjoy up to 15 hours of use with a single charge
  • Five minutes of charging gives you enough juice to go for an hour
  • Moisture-resistant headphones really do endure sweat and weather

What I Didn’t Like

  • Android users need to download an app to sync with the earbuds
  • Plastic ear hook can become slightly uncomfortable with extended use

Wireless earbuds for women that cancel outside noise

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods ProApple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPod Pros may not be the first product you think of when shopping for the best women’s running headphones, but these innovative earbuds will get the job done.

Our favorite feature is the active noise cancellation. With this technology, the earbud’s microphone listens for external noise and then cancels it out so it doesn’t interfere with your playback. The result is some of the most crystal-clear sound you can enjoy.

There may be times when you don’t want such extreme noise cancellation, such as when you’re running on a busy road. In those cases, just turn on Transparency mode to hear what’s going on around you. Personally, we used noise cancellation while on the treadmill to silence the sound of the motor, and it worked beautifully.

Another feature that helps with sound quality is the brand’s adaptive EQ technology. Apple claims these headphones can change their audio output based on the shape of your ear. It’s hard to say whether this is true, but three of us tested these earbuds, and we all agreed that the sound quality was superb.

Some would argue that AirPods don’t offer a very attractive look (and we would agree!), but the latest models offer definite improvement over predecessors. For example, the dangling arm (that houses the battery) isn’t as long as it used to be.

Despite lacking in the looks department, these earbuds are ridiculously comfortable, and they stay put, even when you’re running. And they come with three pairs of silicone ear tips to help you achieve the most comfortable fit.

Like other running headphones for women, these earbuds are sweat and water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about a little moisture. During one of our tests, we actually forgot we were wearing them, and we dumped a bottle of water over our head. The headphones came away unscathed, but we wouldn’t make this a regular habit.

If you’re an Apple user, you’ll find that these AirPods seamlessly integrate into the ecosystem. You can access Siri with a quick greeting, and you can control the earbuds and your devices using just your voice.

As far as battery life, we find it somewhat disappointing that these earbuds only offer a little over 4 hours on a single charge. However, you can keep them charged between uses with the included charging case.

What I Liked

  • Active noise canceling filters out external sounds for amazing audio output
  • Water-resistant earbuds withstood an accidental soaking with no problems
  • Seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem

What I Didn’t Like

  • Battery life isn’t great with just 4 hours per charge
  • Unattractive design and only comes in white

Innovative headphones that let you hear the outside world

AfterShokz OpenMove Wireless Headphones

AfterShokz OpenMove Wireless HeadphonesAfterShokz OpenMove Wireless Headphones

If you often run near busy roads or in heavily populated areas, you know how dangerous it can be to be unable to hear what’s going on around you. AfterShokz OpenMove running headphones solve this problem in an incredibly unique way: by not blocking your ear canal.

These headphones feature an open-ear structure and actually feed sound to your auditory system through your cheekbone. You heard that right: With these headphones, sound actually travels through your bone.

As you might expect, sound traveling through bone doesn’t sound as good as sound entering through your ear, but it still sounds pretty impressive. During our tests, we could clearly hear our music and could adjust volume as needed. We worried that the sound might cause vibrations that would be annoying, but we didn’t experience any kind of discomfort.

As a matter of fact, we actually found the band that wraps around the back of your head to be very comfortable. It was super lightweight, and it fit our heads just fine. And while the headphones do rely on a bit of pressure to keep them in place, it was extremely minimal and still barely noticeable after a couple of hours.

These OpenMove headphones are compatible with a variety of devices, including iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. While you won’t take a computer or laptop on your run, we confirmed the headphones are compatible with those, too, so you can use them at home or on the go.

The headphones come with an IP55 rating, so they’re resistant to both moisture and dust. This is a huge plus if you often go running off-road where you might kick up a lot of dirt. As far as water, they won’t be damaged by sweat or some rain, but don’t submerge them.

You’ll get about 6 hours of use per charge, so you don’t have to worry about charging them every night. For our tests, we charged the headphones on Friday nights, and they were good to go for the whole week.

What I Liked

  • Bone-conduction headphones really send audio through your cheekbone
  • Open-ear design allows you to hear what’s going on around you
  • Lightweight headband is comfortable for hours of use

What I Didn’t Like

  • Sound quality is good, but not spectacular

Budget headphones that sound good and fit well

JBL Endurance RUN

JBL Endurance RUNJBL Endurance RUN

Not interested in the latest wireless earbuds for women that come loaded with state-of-the-art features? We can appreciate your need for simplicity; that’s why we’ve included JBL Endurance RUN earbuds on this list of the best running headphones.

For starters, these earbuds are cheap. At this price point, you can stock up on two or three and keep them throughout your home, office, and car so you always have a pair nearby.

They’re also wired headphones, which is a departure from the ever-popular wireless design that many brands are focusing on. When you choose wired headphones, you give up some conveniences: Now you’ve got a wire to avoid getting wrapped up in, and with that also comes a length limit for how far your device can be from your head.

However, unless you’re strapping your cell phone to your ankle, you’ll find that the wire length on these headphones is more than sufficient. You’ll also find that the wire eliminates issues with Bluetooth compatibility and dropped connections.

Another benefit to wired headphones is that you don’t have to worry about battery levels. That’s because they draw power from your device. This means you never have to worry about pulling out your earbuds, only to find them dead. Or worse, for them to die in the middle of your run.

Concerning comfort, these deliver. You can wear them in your ears like traditional earbuds or use a flexible ear hook to hold them over your ear canal. We liked this versatility as it allowed us to switch the wearing style when we approached heavy traffic or when the earbuds started to feel uncomfortable.

Like all good running headphones for women, these are sweat-proof to survive your hardest runs and minor inclement weather.

They also come with an integrated microphone for hands-free calling. We found call quality to be good, just be sure that the mic is facing away from your chest to avoid friction noises from your clothing and a muffled voice.

What I Liked

  • Basic headphones that are affordable and well-made
  • Compatible with all devices that have a 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Can wear in your ear or over your ear with the included ear hook

What I Didn’t Like

  • Wired design may not be popular with users who want more freedom
  • Good audio quality, but no enhancement features like noise cancellation

What We Looked for in the Best Women’s Running Headphones

We’re avid runners who love to use music to fuel our workouts, so we know how important it is to find the right pair of running headphones. As we reviewed the most popular models available, we kept certain criteria in mind to present you with the best options:

  • Affordable pricing. Headphones that cost hundreds of dollars may offer lots of fancy features, but they’re beyond the reach of many shoppers.
  • Moisture resistance. If you’re taking your headphones outdoors, they have to be able to withstand some sweat and water.
  • Sound quality. You may not expect studio-quality output, but you don’t have to settle for grainy sound.

How to Choose the Right Women’s Running Headphones

There are a lot of options out there vying for the title of best women’s running headphones, so it’s important to know what to look for when choosing a pair for yourself. We love Bose’s SoundSport headphones because we feel they offer a well-rounded package, but you might be looking for something a little different. Here’s what you need to consider to find the right fit.

Style

The days of women’s running headphones that cup your ears and go over your head are gone. Today, most headphones come in the form of earbuds. Some may still include a band or strap to keep the earbuds in place or nearby when you take them out, but others will consist simply of small buds that you place in each ear canal. Many headphones are wireless, but you can also find wired buds that fit 3.5 mm headphone jacks.

Comfort

Which style of headphones you choose will depend less on aesthetics and more on comfort. People with smaller ear canals often find earbuds to be uncomfortable. To minimize this issue, you might shop for headphones that come with several pairs of ear tips in different sizes or you might choose earbuds that come with a band to keep the headphones in place. 

Compatibility

Carefully review headphone compatibility to be sure your choice will work with your music source. Nearly all Bluetooth headphones are compatible with iOS and Android devices, so if you’re using your smartphone, you’re covered. But if you’re using an MP3 player or other device, you may need to check usage details more carefully. Want to avoid compatibility issues? You can choose wired headphones so long as your device has an appropriate connection jack.

Battery life

Even those wireless headphones with the shortest battery lives will offer enough juice to get you through an extended run. But if you don’t feel like plugging them in after every use, you’ll want to find a pair that offers longer battery life. If you’ll store your headphones in a locker or gym bag during the week, look for a set that offers at least 6 hours of battery life per charge.

Sound quality

If it’s been a while since you purchased your last set of headphones, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that the days of tinny sound are long gone. Even entry-level headphones can deliver impressive quality, but if you’re looking for an even better experience, consider earbuds with features that improve audio output. Some examples include automatic EQ and noise cancellation.

Wrapping Up

When looking for the best earbuds for running, consider your exercise habits. From there, you can decide how important features like battery life and sound quality matter to you. If you’re looking for headphones that deliver on all points, we recommend Bose SoundSports. They’re affordably priced, comfortable to wear, and offer excellent sound quality. They’re an ideal pick whether you pound pavement or use a treadmill.

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